Sunday, May 31, 2009

Well, That Was Fun

I was in Durham yesterday. Downtown.

In some ways, I feel sorry for Durham. Let's be honest, it has a poor reputation, a reputation that precedes itself. I can attest to this because for more than 5 years, I tried to lease shopping center space in Durham to outsiders, people and businesses who'd "done their homework" and were caught up in statistics only - not willing to hear about the good things this culturally diverse city had to offer. In someways, Durham has only itself to blame in that they continually, openly air their dirty laundry. Unlike Chapel Hill (which I also love), which tends to keep its skeletons in the closet, its statistics a bit padded and its head in the fluffy white clouds of the Carolina blue
sky. Don't be fooled, there is crime and ugliness in even the best of towns.

All of this came flooding back to me yesterday as I spent the morning downtown in the Bull City. I didn't spend much time thinking back. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed the old buildings, the architecture, the typical downtown streets and crossroads and, of course, the hustle and bustle of race day.

The runners met here at Durham Central Park. In addition to the registration tent, there were small vendors set up along the street selling their wares and bobbles to anyone who might have some disposable income left. (*Note the little dude there in the lower right corner of the photo in the blue shorts. If I'm correct, he was the overall winner. Of course he was, just look at him.).

In addition to the race, the weekly Farmers' Market was going on. Wow...I could've spent a fortune in there. Tomatoes, garlic bunches, strawberries - oh, the strawberries, beautiful garden bouquets, goat soap, lettuce, bread, cheese...all locally grown and some organic. And the vendors working in this pavilion selling these healthy choices were, well, a little homegrown themselves. As I mentioned above, a diverse people.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I'd never participated in this event. That's probably because it's never happened before! Yesterday was the inaugural for Running With The Bulls. And for first timers, Bull City Running Company did a wonderful job. The course was winding, somewhat challenging with hills and twists and bends, it was safely monitored by the Durham Police Department and countless volunteers and it showcased this cool city beautifully. A job well done folks! I wouldn't think twice about doing it again!

And it was somewhat of a personal best for me! I averaged a ten minute mile, finishing 5.01 miles in 50:35. Here at home, I tend to run a mile in 10:36 - 11:05. So knocking off up to a minute per mile is awesome in my little achievement book! I was just a little sad that I didn't have anyone there to share my accomplishment with! Oh well, maybe next time. Although they do say running is a lonely sport.

Oh, and the tech shirt DID have that cool logo on it - in black and red! I'm telling you this for free people, get involved in this sport and you'll build up quite the collection of really neat tees!

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm Running With The Bulls

No, not in Pamplona sillies! Right here in Durham, NC!!

Yep, heading north at o'dark thirty tomorrow morning to be part of the pack of fools - I mean runners - taking to the streets of downtown Durham for an enjoyable 8k run.

I'm excited. I've never participated in this event before. They're expecting about 300 runners and the weather is looking LOVELY -with less humidity! Yeah! Actually, it was the logo above that really jarred my interest in this event. I'm hoping that's what's on the tech shirt each of us receives. Really? What's that say about me? Like my husband says, "you're such a sucker for the packaging"! What can I say? He should be happy - I thought he was packaged well enough to marry!

Hope to have some pictures to share later. A little difficult since I'm flying solo on this one...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm ALMOST There

Last night was the graduation ceremony for the Central Carolina Community College Continuing Education Department Medical Programs.

How is this relevant to me and my life?

Well, I was part of the 2009 Graduating Class for the Nursing Assistant I program.

I'd like to share some of the evening with you...

Our processional

Waiting for the word for us all to take our seats

Heading up to the stage to receive my certificate

I'm obviously very happy for a fellow classmate

Anxiously awaiting my turn

Being awarded my certificate by Dr. T.E. Marchant, President of CCCC

Cheerily heading back to my seat

Class photo w/Sandy Muse, RN, our instructor, front and center

He was so proud

So now, I wait for my notification of when and where I sit to take my state exam. Assuming I pass that, I will be placed on the North Carolina Nursing Registry and eligible for employment in this field. I, nor ANY of my family members, would have ever thought I would venture into health care. I can only attribute it to age and, well, the path God's laid out for me. He has a funny sense of humor, you know.

We'll see what the future holds. At the very least, I'm glad to have gained the knowledge I did. This program is based on providing health care, most specifically, to the elderly. It has helped me to understand the many changes we are witnessing in my aging grandparents. And I'm hopeful that I will be able to be there for them in the coming years; there to continue to love but now to help physically care for them as well - if needed.

And I like the cute uniforms nurses wear...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Long Weekend


It's me!

I went home this weekend to Virginia. It was time for Jess' mani-pedi and a much needed visit from his Mama! Yes, this is the other man in my life. I had a wonderful day at the barn - of course, any day at the barn is wonderful in my opinion. In case you're not familiar with this part of my life, in a nutshell, here it is: I've had Jess for almost 20 years. For my daughter's 6th birthday (may have been 7 - can't remember), we purchased a series of horseback riding lessons. I loved it more than she I think because it brought back MANY memories for me. I rode a lot as a kid. After that, I was hooked. Enter, "Jesse James" (this is his "barn name"; he's a registered Appy (I know, no spots, but it's true) as "High Hat Blue". I financed him. Did you know you could finance a horse? Just like a car, he had to be fully insured. We've had him ever since and let's just say I'm glad he can't talk because boy, have I shared some thoughts and feelings with this guy on those quiet, "just us" rides...

When I moved to NC, I made the heart wrenching decision to leave Jess behind. I did so purely out of love and concern for him. I was worried that his age would work against him during the long, 5 hour drive and the separation from his friends and familiar surroundings (horses are very "family" oriented and creatures of habit). It's worked out fine, however. I know he's well cared for and loved during my absence and I have no worries at all. And it is such a treat when we do see each other (about every month).

I snapped a few photogs after we were finished for the day. I know you'll find him as handsome as I do...

Heading out the back, jack!

His sexy, over the shoulder pose... I think he looks great all shedded out - nice, shiny coat!

Buckets of apples from his Mema after being a good boy while getting his nails trimmed.

I think you can see their soul through their eyes...

A little gray here and there but so am I...and he doesn't care.

After the barn, mom and I stopped in at the Lee Highway Nursery. We were met by this lovely couple. I think I heard them say "tally ho".

If I had to name these little lovebirds, I'd call them Brandi and JC.

Some beautiful shots of the nursery and all it had to offer...

We wrapped up the day with a visit to my grandparents in Rockville, MD. I'm sure they enjoyed it as much as I did.

All in all, a wonderful weekend. And I made the smart decision to drive back to NC on Sunday afternoon, beating all the holiday traffic home and still having Monday to do with as I saw fit.

I hope each of you had a wonderful weekend and took a moment to remember the reason for the holiday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A 25-Hour Day

I've shared with you my feelings about the community I live in. Its quirkiness, its "characters", its beauty, its sense of "let's all work together for the common good", its devotion to God.

This past weekend was simply another affirmation of all those great qualities. Between Friday May 15 and Sunday May 17, there were 4 Relay for Life events going on here in Central NC.

Again this year, my family and I, aka team "Keck Butt" participated in the Pittsboro Relay for Life. This year celebrated the 25th "anniversary" of the relay events and, as such, our event lasted for 25 hours. I thought I'd share with you some of our day...

This is the survivor walk. It kicks things off.

Purple ribbons are the symbol of Relay for Life. You'll see them everywhere. We tied a couple to our tent (thank you Christa!).

This was part of my display; pretty yard flowers...

Our pricing menu.

A sweet little cuppy cake for sale - YUMMO!

A little vignette of framed menus and cakes.

Our display table.

A tower of treats.

My involvement in this annual event is just another reason I'm so glad and appreciative to be living in this caring, giving community. Pittsboro probably won't make the News & Observer and the results certainly won't make the Washington Post or the New York Times. But the efforts of this little town and the people in it will be rewarded in the end, of that I'm certain. In the meantime, we'll carry on and continue to "fight like a girl" and work toward a cure for that ugly "C" word - cancer.

It's my prayer that God blesses each committee member, team captain, team member, caregiver, survivor and the families of those who've lost their battle. Together we find comfort, forgiveness and determination.

I love this place I call home.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

(Un) Stability Ball

I recently made a purchase. Not a large one. To the contrary, really cheap.

But I'm convinced that it's going to kill me.

Surely those of you dedicated enough to spend time in your local gym have the latest and greatest workout accessory, the "stability ball". I don't remember my first encounter with this piece of equipment (probably because it was so traumatic I buried it deep within the gray matter of my brain). And I don't know why on earth the inventor named it a "stability ball" when it's anything but! And I'm certain I had a lapse of sanity when I voluntarily purchased my own for use at home.

Let's just say I'm glad the dog can't talk (laugh) or operate the video camera.

I've heard it said that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". My intentions WERE good when I bought this thing but I think I can clearly smell the burning tar as it's being prepared to be laid...leading straight to hell...

I'm trying to remain optimistic and tell myself I'll get better at this the more I use it, that is if I don't accidentally stab the wobbly orb with my butcher knife first. But just in case, here are some other uses I've come up with:

1) A ball with which to play fetch for, oh I don't know, a St. Bernard, Newfoundland, tiger with a double-jointed jaw...
2) A bouy in Lake Jordan
3) A second chair in my family room (they're actually very comfortable to just sit on)
4) Strap it to a man and have him wear it for nine months so he grasps the idea of pregnancy
5) A soccer ball for members of the NBA

Good thing it wasn't a large investment.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Think I'll Go Here This Weekend

And do this...

Briar Chapel 5k Benefit Run

Join us on May 9, 2009, for the First Annual Briar Chapel 5K!! All proceeds will benefit the Abundance Foundation!

Hey, I'm all about abundance (just look at my butt - or then again, DON'T!) ...abundance of money, abundance of time, abundance of desserts at my church's get-togethers, abundance of hugs and kisses from family, abundance of that Carolina blue sky, abundance of laughs that my kitties bring me, abundance of silliness from my D-O-G, abundance of the grace of God...well, you get the idea. I could start my own abundance foundation!

This Abundance Foundation’s purpose is, however, to increase the public awareness of sustainable energy usage and local food consumption (we're talking Pittsboro/Chapel Hill here people).

Hey, I'm all about saving the planet, using less water, going green but let me just be honest...I'm going 'cause I simply like to run!

Glad my dollars will help their cause as a result!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Uh...Make That A Week

...with no camera... I think I've experienced a little withdrawal over this! Similar to leaving the house for a run and realizing way too late I've forgotten my Ipod. For me, this equates to panic.

Got the call last night that my husband will be staying in KY until Sunday (so, technically, I will have been without my digital for a total of 9 days - not that I'm keeping track). These are my selfish thoughts I'm sharing with you and simply trying to make light of the serious situation we're facing.

Mike's extended his stay because his father was hospitalized Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, his hospital stays are becoming more frequent and longer with each visit. My father-in-law is suffering from the early stages of COPD. He was also recently diagnosed with diabetes. Obviously our concerns are great and it's difficult being so far away. But we're grateful that Mike's been able to stay this long and will be there through the weekend. We're hopeful Bill will be able to go home tomorrow and Mike can help him get settled in and comfortable in his own "lazy boy" chair.

It's been a reaffirmation of just how important diet and exercise is to our overall much as we HATE to diet and exercise!

Please keep the Mineers in your prayers...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Camera-less Weekend

Because I'm still VERY bitter, holding a grudge and pouting about not being able to go with my husband to OH to run the Flying Pig Half Marathon, I think it's better I don't elaborate on the details of what held me back. Instead, I'll share my weekend back here at home, albeit a "fake photo" one.

Let me digress briefly...I am a techy, a nerd - although I know very little about technology I think I need all the latest gadgets out there (and usually that's because a new color has come out or it's been made smaller and, therefore, "cuter"!). I say this because my husband took our only digital camera with him to the aforementioned (let's not talk about it) race this weekend leaving me camera-less. The only reason I need to purchase a back-up digital camera! Oh, maybe a red one! But wait, they come in pink and purple, too! See, so many tough choices! I think I'll add said camera to my mother's day wish list...

Because the weekend away was planned months ago and Michael and I both were supposed to go, my folks had planned on being here to animal sit. They decided to come anyway and spend the weekend with me and "play in the dirt" as my mom likes to say.

As usual, much progress was made! Mom planted one of these...

(Tulip Tree - photo courtesy of Internet Google Images)
And one of these...

(Wisteria - photo courtesy of Internet Google Images)

I'm anticipating having to move the tulip tree once my husband gets home and sees where it's starting to take mom is notorious for planting stuff smack in the middle of the yard. We, on the other hand, prefer to plant along the edge of the property line. The wisteria, however, is in the perfect spot. We (big Daddy) have plans to build a little sitting/eating/cooking area around an already existing concrete slab and put a pergola "roof/covering" over the top. The idea is to have the wisteria latch on and cover the pergola making a canopy of pretty hanging purple blooms. The vision is beautiful, I just hope the realization is just as nice! Hopefully we'll be enjoying this outside living room next summer!

My front door was mom's pet project of the weekend. This has been weeks in the making. I wanted to change the color (to red, of course) and mom was determined to change the glass (the original was old and had faux 'snow' around the edges that simply made it look dirty - yuck!). I told her not to worry about the glass, I would live with it. We could use that money on something else (this was a conversation from about a month ago). She agreed, reluctantly, but said my dad would at least replace the molding with something "pretty". As Daddy was nailing the new molding in place, he accidentally broke the glass out of the front door. You can imagine my mom's horror - NOT!!! I think I heard her squeal with delight in the basement that evening! Fast forward to this weekend. New glass inserted, door painted and a super shiny coat of polyurethane and we have a BEAUTIFUL, welcoming new VERY RED front door. At this point, I would have inserted a lovely picture of my gorgeous new door but...oh, that's right!!! I had a camera-less weekend!!

Details and photos will follow later this week.